Business owners are more beleaguered than ever. From lockdowns to double-digit inflation on things you need to buy, to astronomic energy bills, the obstacles to business success are growing larger by the day.
However, by investing in YOURSELF – and we are talking time not money – you can make sure that you make the right decisions while under pressure and give your business the best possible chances of surviving & thriving through the next few years.
Not convinced? Here are 3 reasons I urge you to think of books as your secret weapon in your fight for business excellence.
- You can listen as well as read, if that’s your thing. Not only do most books go to Audible quickly now (including my own ‘The Money Gym‘ but there are browser plugins that will read articles, blog posts and the rapidly becoming essential alternative media ‘real news’ channel Substack out loud to you. My mate Andy sets his for double time so he gets through longer articles and news even quicker!
- ‘Leaders Are Readers’ says Tim Sanders, author of ‘Love Is The Killer App’ and when I’m listening to podcasts, what shines through is that the top people are either reading (or listening) to biographies and ‘how to’ books.
- Suddenly, all that boring dead time while working out, folding the washing, being a taxi for teens or walking the dog is now a portable classroom.
Being very creative and highly visual, I get easily overwhelmed by lots of information. So I like to divide my activities into three main areas; mindset, marketing & money. There is a place for business skills too, but they usually fit under one of those three and if you don’t get those three right, you can have as many business skills as you like, but you still won’t succeed. Unless you are running a company FOR an entrepreneur.
3 Crucial Business Books To Ensure YOUR Business Survives This Recession
So here are my ‘3 Crucial Business Books’, carefully culled from a much longer list so don’t miss these, read / listen as soon as possible. One book in each of my three main areas. First up, Mindset!
‘Creating A Bug Free Mind‘ by Andy Shaw.
I could have gone with another top favourite here, ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’ which was an absolute game-changer for me in my late 30’s but I’m going to assume you have read it already. No? Run, don’t walk to get that one.
Can I be blunt? You are never going to succeed in business unless you sort yourself out. If you have low self-esteem, you don’t believe that you are worthy of success, if you cringe when you talk about money, if you think sales is a dirty word, if you are carrying baggage and resentments, you are on a hiding to nothing. Might as well shut up shop now.
My really tippy top-notch favourite book on mindset is actually written by a close friend of mine, Andy Shaw.
I’ve watched him go from strength to strength personally, while people from all walks of life in over 150 countries in the world have had their lives changed by this, and its companion book ‘Using A Bug Free Mind’.
Not to mention that I’ve read both books twice now and it’s certainly changed my life – and my business – immeasurably.
While keeping your head straight is lifelong work, you’ll be wanting to test your big idea now (also known as your Irresistible Offer).
The ONLY way to really test an idea – and get an honest response – is by trying to sell it to someone. In less than 30 seconds ideally. This can be as simple as explaining it to your Nan, your best mate or someone in your business community.
If they don’t get it immediately you’ve got more work to do on your offer. But once you’ve cracked it, it’s time to set up a marketing funnel and a sales system, so you never miss a potential sale.
Marketing & Sales
‘Predictable Revenue‘: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com’ by Aaron Hall
In order to make it in business, you need to know how both sales & marketing work. While great marketing is popularly thought to make sales redundant, you do need to know how to encourage people to make that buying decision (and how to make it easy for them).
This is the first book I came across that covers the two together, creating a simple, easy-to-follow system to set up both successfully in your business.
What to do, what not to do, what to do if you sell products versus services, how to sell high ticket versus low ticket, how to DIY and how to run a sales team and marketing department – it’s all there.
It’s also surprisingly fun to read, with Aaron sharing lots of anecdotes to illustrate his point.
‘Traction‘ by Gino Wickman
If you’ve ever wondered how to write a short, brilliant, easy-to-follow business plan THEN actually follow it and track your progress regularly, look no further.
I absolutely love this book and use their Meeting Agenda with my Mastermind clients every quarter.
This is written in the format of a self-help book but if you prefer a story, then click through to ‘Traction’ and then look for ‘Get A Grip’ by Gino Wickman – an excellent follow-up to ‘Traction’ driving home the principles in ‘case study’ kind of format.
Again, combining solid practical ‘how to’ with templates and anecdotes from Gino’s own experience of working with many different types of business.
Bonus Book: “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz
As I can’t leave any list without covering all three of the areas essential for business success, I’ve decided to give you a bonus book – all about how to handle the money in your business! I’d already been tracking my cashflows weekly – personal and business – and so it was just a matter of absorbing the principles and re-arranging the rows a bit.
Billed as “How to Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” this book is a must for all small business owners. It is not right for bigger ambition fast-growth companies that don’t care about profit because they are aiming to attract Venture Capital. Unless they want a Plan B, which is not a bad thing in this day and age.
Author of cult classics The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur offers a simple, counterintuitive cash management solution that will help small businesses break out of the doom spiral and achieve instant profitability.
Conventional accounting uses the logical (albeit, flawed) formula: Sales – Expenses = Profit. The problem is, businesses are run by humans, and humans aren’t always logical. Serial entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz has developed a behavioral approach to accounting to flip the formula: Sales – Profit = Expenses. Just as the most effective weight loss strategy is to limit portions by using smaller plates, Michalowicz shows that by taking profit first and apportioning only what remains for expenses, entrepreneurs will transform their businesses from cash-eating monsters to profitable cash cows. Using Michalowicz’s Profit First system, readers will learn that:
· Following 4 simple principles can simplify accounting and make it easier to manage a profitable business by looking at bank account balances.
· A small, profitable business can be worth much more than a large business surviving on its top line.
· Businesses that attain early and sustained profitability have a better shot at achieving long-term growth.
With dozens of case studies, practical, step-by-step advice, and his signature sense of humour, Michalowicz has the game-changing roadmap for any entrepreneur to make the money they always dreamed of.
Why Did I Put The Books In This Order?
Because there is no point in writing a business plan unless you have your head on straight personally and you have an ‘irresistible offer’. Find out more about that here. Similarly, there is no point in learning how to manage the money until you have made some sales. I have over 52 years experience of business as an entrepreneur (yes, I started at just 8 years old!) and I’ve put this list together in the order I would have liked to get this info. Now, tell me…
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